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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Creativity and the Economics of the Copyright Controversy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 5-12, 2009

Harold Demsetz

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Abstract

The debate about copyright law centers on the apparent tradeoff between the creation of new works and the extent to which these works are used once they are created. Economics has been employed explicitly and implicitly to bolster positions taken by those involved in this debate. I do not directly join this debate here, but what I will say is relevant to it. My objectives are different, to draw attention to the neglect of creativity by economists and to describe some of the unique problems this neglect poses for those who use traditional economic models to explain and support the positions they take in this debate. It is no intent of mine to discourage the use of traditional economic models but, rather, to urge greater care in their use.

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Piracy and the Demand for Films: Analysis of Piracy Behavior in French Universities

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 15-27, 2006

David Bounie, Patrick Waelbroeck and Marc Bourreau

Downloads:  471


Abstract

The purpose of this article is to identify which, if any, segments of the movie business have suffered from digital piracy. We use a sample of 620 university members including undergraduate students, graduate students and professors to assess the effect of digital piracy on legal demand. A large percentage of respondents get pirated movies from a variety of channels (on P2P networks, intranet, by physical means. . . ). Surprisingly, approximately one third of the pirates declared that watching pirated movies increased their demand for films (for instance, it led them to rent or purchase videos that they would not have rented or purchased otherwise). Using regressions analysis, we find no impact of piracy on theater attendance, and a strong impact on video rentals and purchases. However, movie piracy has no impact on video rentals for respondents who use pre-paid pricing schemes at video-stores.

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A Taxonomy of Empirical Research on Copyright - How Do We Inform Policy?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 47-92, 2012

Christian Handke

Downloads:  466


Abstract

This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system - and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.

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Economics of Copyright Collecting Societies and Digital Rights: Is There a Case for a Centralised Digital Copyright Exchange?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012

Ruth Towse

Downloads:  464


Abstract

Copyright collecting societies have attracted economists' attention for over 30 years and the attention of government regulators for even longer. They have typically been accepted by economists and by courts of law as necessary for reducing transaction costs and enabling copyright to work. The advent of digitization has led to renewed interest in the topic and to the view that though new technologies offer the possibility of improved rights management, collecting societies are not responding sufficiently to these opportunities. That view was evident in recent enquiries into the role of copyright in the digital age in the UK, which proposed the formation of a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) that would promote online digital trade. This paper evaluates the case for the DCE in the light of what economists know about collective rights management.

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Forever Minus a Day? Calculating Optimal Copyright Term

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 35-60, 2009

Rufus Pollock

Downloads:  450


Abstract

The optimal term of copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. Based on a novel approach we derive an explicit formula which characterises the optimal term as a function of a few key and, most importantly, empirically-estimable parameters. Using existing data on recordings and books we obtain a point estimate of around 15 years for optimal copyright term with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years. This is substantially shorter than any current copyright term and implies that existing terms are too long.

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Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 45-65, 2010

Frank Mueller-Langer and Richard Watt

Downloads:  448


Abstract

In a recent paper, Prof. Steven Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) has argued strongly in favor of eliminating copyright from academic works. Based upon solid economic arguments, Shavell analyses the pros and cons of removal of copyright and in its place to have a pure open access system, in which authors (or more likely their employers) would provide the funds that keep journals in business. In this paper we explore some of the arguments in Shavell’s paper, above all the way in which the distribution of the sources of journal revenue would be altered, and the feasible effects upon the quality of journal content. We propose a slight modification to a pure open access system which may provide for the best of both the copyright and open access worlds.

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The End of Copyright History?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 5-10, 2004

Paul A. David

Downloads:  422


Abstract

The history of the copyright system appears to be approaching an end. A pressing question now is whether or not the particular manner of its passing will be one that proves seriously destructive for cultural vitality and the advancement of knowledge.

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Evidence of the Effect of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs in Canada

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 9(2), 55-78, 2012

George Barker

Downloads:  419


Abstract

This paper examines data on the effects of Internet peer-to peer (P2P) file sharing activities on music purchasing. The data was obtained from a survey commissioned by Industry Canada to "inform Industry Canada's policy development work" regarding copyright law reform in Canada. The paper focuses on an important survey question which has not yet been analysed. Analysis of survey responses suggests that P2P file-sharing is a substitute for legitimate music purchases and has strong negative effects on legitimate music purchases. This contradicts the results of earlier analysis of the data commissioned by Industry Canada first published on Industry Canada's website in 2007 (Andersen and Frenz, 2007), and then subsequently revised and republished as Andersen and Frenz (2010).

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The Elusive Symbiosis: The Impact of Radio on the Record Industry

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 93-118, 2004

Stan J. Liebowitz

Downloads:  416


Abstract

Unlike television broadcasters, who must negotiate with the copyright owners before they can broadcast movies, radio broadcasters need not negotiate with the copyright holders for the sound recordings broadcast on radio. In the United States radio broadcasters have no obligations whatsoever to the copyright owners of the sound recordings (although they do have obligations to the copyright holders of the music contained in the sound recording). The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that radio broadcasters have argued, and it is generally accepted, that radio play benefits record sales and thus there is no need for radio broadcasters to purchase the rights to broadcast the sound recording. This impact of radio play on record sales is commonly referred to as a "symbiotic" relationship between these two industries. Yet there appears to be no systematic examination of this relationship. In this paper I present evidence indicating that radio play does not benefit overall record sales. There are obvious implications for copyright. I also examine, by way of comparison, television's negative impact on the movie industry.

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Intellectual Property in Software Development: Trends, Strategies and Problems

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 15-25, 2007

Knut Blind

Downloads:  413


Abstract

This paper analyses the impacts of the recent discussion to extend patentability to computer-implemented inventions, i.e. to allow software patents, in Europe. Based on two surveys among the German software sector referring to the use and importance of IPR in the year 2000 and 2004, the analysis finds that the share of companies using patents in the software sector remains constant, but the relevance of this instrument increased significantly for the active users of patents. Based on a set of hypotheses on the determinants for the use of patents, we also find changes. The size bias of patent use increased, whereas there is a dichotomy between using patents and following the open source model in the software sector and not a convergence, as has been suggested by the anecdotal evidence of some large multinationals. These changes in the software sector generate several new challenges for policy makers responsible for the IPR regime relevant for software in addition to the still unsolved question of extending patentability to software in Europe.

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P2P Music Sharing Networks: Why the Legal Fight Against Copiers May Be Inefficient

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 69-82, 2005

Fabrice Rochelandet and Fabrice Le Guel

Downloads:  406


Abstract

The paper investigates empirically the behavior of copiers over P2P networks based on an ordered Logit model of intensity using a dataset collected from more than 2,500 French households. In accordance with the prediction of the Beckerian framework, copying behavior is negatively correlated with the willingness to pay for an original when a copy is available. But individuals also make their decisions according to their social neighborhood and to the degree to which they have learned about copying. Furthermore, we find that copiers are motivated by the search for diversified contents, and they are also very concerned about the interests of artists. We then consider the efficiency of anti-copying policies on the copying of music and movies.

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Digital File Sharing and the Music Industry: Was There a Substitution Effect?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 41-52, 2005

Norbert J. Michel

Downloads:  401


Abstract

Several empirical studies exist that measure the impact of filesharing services on music sales, and most suggest that there was a negative impact on sales. Still, most of these studies do not examine (at the household level) whether consumers substituted out of music and into movies. This paper uses micro-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (1998 through 2003) to test for this possible substitution effect. The data do not support the hypothesis that music consumers spent less on music because they spent more on either movie tickets or prerecorded movies (purchases or rentals).

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Patent and/or Copyright for Software: What Has Been Done So Far?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 3-14, 2007

Richard Watt

Downloads:  390


Abstract

The particular case of software seems to have stretched the patent-copyright divide to the point of breakage. Inspite of being traditionally excluded from patent, software is an obvious case of a single creation that embodies both expression and innovation, and so strong arguments exist for software to be both copyrightable and patentable material. The legal profession has looked carefully at the patentability of software over the past 15 years or so, both from a fully legal perspective, and using economic-type arguments. But we are still waiting for the economics profession per sé to set to work on this issue. Here, I shall go through some of the most well known arguments surrounding the protection of software, and then put forward a personal opinion as to what theoretical economists are likely to add, if and when they include this important question on their research agendas.

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Copyright in the Digital Age; Benefiting Users and Creators?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 55-64, 2011

Peter Jenner

Downloads:  388


Abstract

Copyright is supposed to establish a mechanism under which content users contribute to creators' income, thereby providing incentives for creators to create new and original content for end-users to consume. However, in the current digital environment one can suggest that this arrangement is breaking down. The necessary flow of content is not being achieved in such a manner as to provide a satisfactory flow of revenue back to the creators, or is it vice versa? It can also be argued that the copyright system is not providing enough revenue for distributors to provide the sort of services that users would like with the current pricing structures, use restrictions and rights complexity demanded by the major controllers of music copyrights. In this essay I consider the current state of affairs regarding the copyright system, and its effects for all participants along the value chain for protected content.

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The Four P's of Digital Distribution in the Internet Era: Piracy, Pie-Splitting, and Pipe Control

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 3-20, 2010

Joel Waldfogel

Downloads:  388


Abstract

The first decade of the new millennium has been the decade of digital distribution for media products. All products that can be digitized have either been affected, or will soon be. Since the early days of the Internet, piracy has emerged as an important threat to media firms. But new technology also brings an opportunity for firms to engage in new models of pricing. Many of these new forms of pricing produce revenue that is not readily attributed to particular owners, making it necessary for sellers to create new methods for sharing revenue, or pie-splitting. Affected industries have mobilized to enact a number of non-market responses, including recent efforts to induce Internet Service Providers to control the flow of unpaid content through their pipes. This essay reviews the threats, opportunities, and challenges to media firms that have emerged over the past decade, with attention to piracy, pricing, pie-splitting, and pipe control.

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